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Council learns Kenmare wants to be smoke-free

Kenmare would like to be smoke-free.

5/11/11 (Wed)

By Terry Froseth

Kenmare would like to be smoke-free.
Just over 81 percent of the respondents to a community tobacco survey said they would favor a law in Kenmare prohibiting smoking in all indoor places and workplaces, including offices, restaurants, truck stops, and bars. Nearly the same percentage said they would favor an identical state law.
Holly Brekhus of First District Health Unit reviewed the survey results with the Kenmare City Council during the regular monthly meeting Monday evening.
Mayor Roger Ness questioned whether it would be better to have the public vote on the issue, rather than have the council make the decision.
Brekhus said that as a general rule of thumb, putting the issue on a ballot creates more controversy. She said it tends to go smoother when it is an action of the council.
Brekhus informed the council there are now seven smoke-free communities in North Dakota. She said on average there has been about 70 percent support for the smoking bans in the cities which have adopted the law.
The council took no action. Ness commented, “I think it’s definitely something to move forward with.”
Gaming donations
The council heard requests for gaming fund donations (from Minot Hockey Boosters gaming activity at South of the Border).
The Kenmare High School Post Graduation committee was approved for a $350 donation of Kenmare Bucks. The Kenmare Summer Arts Institute received a $400 donation for their summer writing, arts, and drama workshops for kids ages 10 and older. The Kenmare High School FBLA group received $350 towards their trip to Nationals.
The Kenmare Recreation Committee received $3000 towards salaries for coaches and other expenses for the summer t-ball, softball, and baseball programs.
The Kenmare Recreation Committee received $4000 towards a match for a grant from the St. Joseph’s Community Health Care Foundation of up to $7500, with the funds to be used for the city swimming pool for cement work and costs related to erecting the water slide.
Gaming permits
A gaming site permit for Vet’s Gaming at the Memorial Hall, primarily for GooseFest activities, was approved.
The renewal of a gaming site permit for Minot Hockey Boosters at South of the Border was denied. The permit is not due until the end of June.
Council president Chuck Leet discussed the minimal amount of money Minot Hockey Boosters returns to the community compared to Vet’s Gaming. He said Minot Hockey Boosters has stated they would help with a large donation to a big project if asked. “We need to call them on this,” Leet said.
City auditor Ralph Hoversten said the city gaming fund receives about $1500 per quarter from Minot Hockey Boosters from pull-tab proceeds at South of the Border.
There was discussion of procedure, with the council members agreeing they would vote next month to reconsider the Minot Hockey Boosters gaming site permit.
New Sheriff in town
New Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski addressed the council briefly. He spoke of the challenges for law enforcement resulting from oilfield activity and the influx of workers. He also mentioned the difficulties in keeping good people on staff when competing with big wages and expensive housing.
Regarding the condition of roads in the county, Kukowski said he thought the Sheriff’s Department could help by implementing a truck regulatory unit to weigh trucks on the roads within the county. This could reduce the incidents of road damage from overweight trucks.
Kukowski said it could be a win-win deal, with the county keeping the money from fines to fund road repairs and the Sheriff’s Department’s program.
In other action:
• Flood damage forms from the county are available at the city auditor’s office. Numbers for state assistance are also available by calling the auditor.
• A public hearing for a Community Development Block Grant for water improvements was held. There were no public comments.
• A tax equalization meeting was held. No one showed up to comment. The council approved the meeting’s minutes.
• Fay Froseth informed the council that Harris Construction will begin work on the first phase of the walking trail, surrounding the high school grounds, at the first opportunity after the area dries out. The walking trail committee also has a state grant of $170,000 for the next phase of the trail, with a match requirement of about $140,000.
• The second reading of the annexation of the Gooseneck Implement property was tabled to allow the company more time to work out details of the site’s development.
• Bid opening for the new water tower will take place on May 19 at 11:00 am. City engineer Ryan Ackerman said eight companies have submitted bids, and that he expects the bidding to be very competitive.
• Alderman Butch Norrie reported the garbage committee is considering what to do with the Recycling Center. He said the recyclables are sold at a loss, even before including wages. He said it costs more to truck the cardboard bales to Minot than the city is paid for them.
• The hiring of a new police officer, Jason Cartier, was approved for a vacancy on the city force. He will start June 1 at a salary of $2700 per month, on a one-year probation.
Leet described Cartier as descent, common sensed, and easy to get along with. Cartier has served the past five years as a Burke County deputy out of Bowbells.
• The radio reading water meter system is getting closer to being operational. Public Works director Mike Thompson said there are just 12 contacts left to be made.
• The council was informed that Doug Skjordal was named the Kenmare Fire Chief.
• The city will put in for a FEMA declaration for the dozens of bad spots in the streets.
• The city will offer lots for sale in June, once they have been cleared off and cleaned up.
• The new city police car should arrive in June.
• A $4300 fix was approved for the city sewer system’s lift station.
• A leak in the Memorial Hall roof will be repaired after estimates are received.